Robert Bentley

Bentley Takes Plea Deal and Resigns

Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “agreed to a deal that forced him to resign the office of governor, plead guilty to two misdemeanors and agree to never again to hold public office,” the Birmingham News reports.

“The extraordinary agreement, hammered out over the weekend and throughout the day… requires Bentley to repay the state for misused funds and perform community service. In response, the state attorney general’s office will not pursue other felonies against Bentley, including those referred for prosecution last week by the Alabama Ethics Commission.”

“Whether the governor faces jail time on the misdemeanors – which are technically punishable by as much as a year in prison – is left to the judge who will sentence him. It is unlikely he will serve time.”

Bentley Expected to Resign as Alabama Governor

“It Is becoming clear that Robert Bentley (R) will not last the week as governor,” the Birmingham News reports.

“Sources in Montgomery say his lawyers have been involved in negotiations to step down from the governorship and plead to lesser charges, allowing Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey to step up as governor.”

“Sources believe he will resign the governorship by Wednesday.”

The Daily Beast has a good summary of the evidence against Bentley.

Alabama Supreme Court Allows Impeachment to Proceed

The Alabama Supreme Court “allowed the impeachment of Governor Robert Bentley to start next week, staying a temporary restraining order from a lower court that had blocked hearings,” Reuters reports.

“Bentley, a Republican, has been battling impeachment efforts over the last year related to political fallout from his relationship with a former aide.”

Bentley Adviser Sought DMV Closures in Black Counties

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s (R) former top advisor and secret paramour Rebekah Mason “led a politically-motivated effort in 2015 to close 31 driver’s license offices in mostly black counties, a move that embarrassed the state and was later reversed,” the Birmingham News reports.

“Mason’s role was highlighted in a 131-page report released Friday by the investigator leading impeachment efforts against Gov. Bentley, a report largely focused on the relationship between Mason and Bentley.”

Bentley Sues to Stop Impeachment

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “simultaneously sued to block potential impeachment proceedings and apologized to voters Friday, assuring them he has done nothing illegal and vowing to stay in office in the face of a sex-tinged scandal,” the AP reports.

“The governor’s defiance comes at the end of particularly difficult week. Calls for Bentley’s resignation have grown, and he learned he could face criminal prosecution after the Alabama Ethics Commission found probable cause that he broke ethics and campaign law.”

Lawmakers Lay Groundwork to Impeach Bentley

“Alabama lawmakers began laying the legal groundwork Tuesday to impeach their governor over his alleged adulterous affair with his former top political adviser,” NBC News reports.

“The deliberations of the Alabama House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee got underway as the state’s Attorney General’s Office was simultaneously pursuing a criminal investigation of Gov. Robert Bentley.”

Birmingham News: “A growing number of Alabama lawmakers — black and white, Republican and Democrat — are fed up with Gov. Robert Bentley and want to get on with getting him out of office. The attorney general, grand juries and ethics investigators can get in line behind them.”

Bentley Expected to Pick Strange for Senate Seat

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is strongly leaning toward picking Attorney General Luther Strange to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) after his expected confirmation to become United States Attorney General, Politico reports.

“One possible advantage of appointing Strange, this operative said, is that Bentley — who has been implicated in a tawdry sex scandal and was under an impeachment investigation by the state legislature — gets to appoint a new attorney general who might be less inclined to prosecute him.”

Bentley Could Appoint AG Investigating Him to Senate

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “has narrowed the list of possible replacements for Jeff Sessions to six names, including that of one state official who could be investigating the very governor that would appoint him to the U.S. Senate,” the Birmingham News reports.

The inclusion of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) on the list has raised questions since Strange has been investigating Bentley in connection to possible impeachment offenses surrounding his relationship with former adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason. If Bentley appoints Strange to the U.S. Senate, the governor will then be able to appoint his successor.

Bentley Ordered Helicopter to Pick Up His Wallet

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) once “ordered a state helicopter to fly his wallet to him at the beach, after he accidentally left it behind in the wake of an argument with his then-wife,” according to Yellowhammer.

“If true, the allegations call into question Gov. Bentley’s assertion that he did not misuse state resources during his affair with his then-senior advisor Rebekah Mason.”

Bentley Apologizes for Sex Scandal

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “made perhaps his most heartfelt apology yet on Monday, repeatedly asking the people of Alabama for forgiveness for the scandal that has engulfed his administration,” the Birmingham News reports.

Said Bentley: “I’ve asked God to forgive me because that’s the most important thing. I want back in His fellowship. And so I asked God to forgive me. But I asked other people to again forgive me and I’ve already done that and I have truly asked the people of this state – they’re the folks who love me and are the best people in the world – I have asked them to forgive me.”

The Fix: “But wait a minute. Forgive him for what? Bentley hasn’t ever admitted to the affair he has been accused of. “

Bentley Used ‘Burner’ Cell Phones

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “personally bought multiple inexpensive, disposable cell phones last year at a Best Buy in Tuscaloosa,” the Birmingham News reports.

“The revelation that Bentley purchased disposable ‘burner’ phones comes as he attempts to politically recover from allegations by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Spencer Collier that Bentley had a sexual relationship with former top political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.”

Bentley Says He Won’t Quit

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), “who is confronting a deepening political morass after acknowledging last week that he had sexually charged conversations with a top aide,” said he has “no intentions of resigning,” the New York Times reports.

“By day’s end, it was uncertain whether it would be politically feasible for Mr. Bentley, 73, to remain in office in this state, which has a gaudy history of scandal but has been in something of a morals-driven meltdown since the governor’s admission last Wednesday.”

Birmingham News: “But here’s the rub: the likely timeline for investigation, trial and conviction is longer than the remainder of the governor’s term.”

Bentley Ordered Law Enforcement to Target Critics

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

Meanwhile, Yellowhammer News reports Bentley and Mason “share a secret safe deposit box at a Montgomery bank.”

Bentley Made Sexually Suggestive Comments to Aide

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “apologized to the people of Alabama for explicit comments he made to Rebekah Mason, his top political adviser,” the Birmingham News reports.

“But Bentley, who has been under siege since former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary Spencer Collier accused him of having an affair, denied he had been involved in a physical relationship with her… When asked to comment on the recordings – part of which include Bentley describing how he liked the come up behind the woman and touch her breasts – he clarified that it was not a ‘sexual relationship.'”